Before a physician can provide patient care in a hospital facility, the hospital must first grant privileges to the physician. Securing these privileges should be the first step in the credentialing process, as they serve as a pre-requisite for health plan credentialing. Health plans require that physicians have privileges at participating network hospitals or they will not be able to join.

Prior to granting privileges, hospitals will verify a physician’s training, education, and practice expertise based on the rules set forth by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. This also includes a physician’s references, claim history, case and procedural logs, and much more. Upon completion, the hospital’s credential committee reviews the information and if approved sends it on to hospital’s executive committee and board of directors for the final seal of approval. Once approved, the Hospital Committee appoints the physician to the medical staff for an initial period of one year, and two years upon each renewal thereafter.